A California McDonald's has replaced the iconic gold arches in an effort to draw attention to its sustainable features.
A rebuilt restaurant in Riverside, California, became the first McDonald's west of the Mississippi and only the fourth in the U.S. to seek LEED Gold certification.
The building, which reopened on October 14th, has been a traditional McDonald's restaurant for 44 years, but now boasts some very non-McDonald's-like features, including:
- Light-colored hardscape to reduce heat emissions from the site
- Native drought-tolerant plants to reduce water consumption by landscape
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage
- 294 photovoltaic panels to generate a percentage of the restaurant's power consumption
- Recycled denim insulation inside the building
Tom and Candace Spiel, the renovated restaurant's owner/operators say that they were inspired to create a McDonald's that honored Riverside's reputation as California's first "Emerald City."
The restaurant also features an interactive touch-screen display for visitors to learn about the building, environmental sustainability, and how individuals can reduce their carbon footprints.
Although the Golden Arches have stood for generations as the very symbol of capitalist resource exploitation and American cultural imperialism, this isn't the first time the company has tried to "green-up" it's act. In November 2009, company officials in Germany annouced that the iconic red McDonald's sign would get a green background in an effort to bring attention to the what the company claims is a strengthened position on sustainability.
Other LEED-certified McDonald's restaurants are located in Cary, North Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Chicago. The Spiel's say their restaurant expects to receive LEED certification within one year.
What do you think? Are you more likely to eat at a McDonald's that's LEED certified?